Friday, 28 October 2016

Talitha Creative Arts

I recently had the pleasure of conversing with Amanda Root, the founder of a therapeutic arts organisation called Talitha. I'd recently become aware of the Talitha approach and, as a fellow advocate of the healing potential in creative activity, I was eager to find out more about Talitha, its history, aims and methods.

Amanda told me that the first project Talitha was involved in was in India, where her group had worked with a number of women who had suffered traumatic experiences related to human trafficking, I got the sense that, as these women worked through a series of creative workshops (involving various disciplines - Amanda's background is in acting), they'd found the means to express, analyse and - in some cases - begin to move beyond their difficult experiences.

I sensed Amanda's obvious commitment to the therapeutic potential inherent to artistic practice. I was intrigued to hear how Talitha had broadened its original scope, recognising the beneficial impact that expressive arts can have on people's lives. Amanda noted her organisation's involvement with Pret a Manger's Foundation Trust, explaining how Talitha had taken its practice to where it might be needed. A great number of clients from different backgrounds have found purpose, agency and an enriched sense of identity from working with the creative arts in a warm, supportive environment.

The Talitha approach places great emphasis on group activity where clients can explore the virtues of communication. discussion and leadership. My own work with Red Balloon has often shown me the importance of group activity; I've written on this subject here and here.

As Amanda and I chatted, she made mention of a number of activities Talitha practitioners use. In one activity, clients might be given the prompt to depict themselves as a garden. This they might do through application of a range of art media. In another activity, clients could be asked to construct a tableaux representing courage - and the physical movements involved in the creation may well become a part of the artwork.

I was greatly inspired by my conversation with Amanda and keen to further investigate her organisation and the projects it gets involved in. If you'd like to find out more about Talitha and their upcoming training courses, they can be contacted here.